People in the Northern Health Region who do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner or who need medical attention outside normal physician hours, now have another option.
The health authority launched its Northern Health Virtual Primary and Community Care Clinic earlier this month.
“Every person in British Columbia deserves to have the health care they need, as soon as they need it, wherever they live,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health. “People living in rural and remote communities in B.C. have faced challenges in accessing health care for too long.”
The clinic offers a full slate of primary care services including skin rashes and infections, asthma and mild breathing difficulties, sprains, earaches and flu-like symptoms according to a press release May 4.
The clinic will also offer mental health services and care for those wanting substance use treatment, such as opioid agonist therapy.
“This will be a game changer for people who need mental health care, because we’ve developed this virtual clinic with them front of mind,” said Sheila Malcolmson, minister of mental health and addictions.
The virtual clinic has 28 full-time equivalent health-care providers made up of telecare and front-line nurses, clinic coordinators, administrative staff, a telecare team lead and a program specialist, with plans to expand in the future.
It is available seven days a week including holidays by calling 1-844-645-7811.
The health authority said this service “builds on the success of the COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line, which launched in March 2020 as a temporary service to provide COVID-19 related care during the pandemic.”
The province is funding the clinic with $3.8 million this year and says it will be a permanent program.